Possible food innovation center coming to downtown

Buildings seen along Third Avenue South on Tuesday in downtown Twin Falls are one of the potential sites listed for the food innovation center in the feasibility study done by KRNLS and Plaka and Associates.

TWIN FALLS — Plans to build a hub to support food innovators and entrepreneurs are moving forward.

A feasibility study has narrowed down the potential locations for a food innovation center in the Magic Valley. Initial programming will launch in the fall of 2021.

Region IV Economic Development commissioned the monthslong study led by an independent research team. They concluded that downtown Twin Falls would be the best location for the facility and listed two potential sites, 164 Third Ave. S. and 139 Third Ave. S.

The facility will focus on food and agricultural entrepreneurship featuring specialized equipment and conference spaces. There will be a dairy processing center, a commercial kitchen, cold and dry storage and a maker space according to a press release.

Southern Idaho Economic Development, Region IV Development, Dairy West, University of Idaho, College of Southern Idaho and Chobani are working together on the project. The feasibility study was made possible through funding from Chobani and Dairy West.

The research team looked at two other potential locations, the future Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment facility in Jerome and the College of Southern Idaho campus. The outreach center location lacked assets such as housing, entertainment and dining, according to the report.

The Magic Valley already has a ton of big food processors and the center could help bring in new kinds of food businesses, officials told the Times-News.

Southern Idaho Economic Development Executive Director Connie Stopher said earlier this year that a small food-based business can’t afford its own research and development facility. This project would help provide the equipment and expert staff and educators.

Project updates can be found at mvfic.com. The feasibility study was led by KRNLS and Plaka and Associates.